World renowned economist Art Laffer recently stated at Southern Methodist University that he couldn’t find a single reason not to pass school choice in Texas. He indicated that school choice, in the form of Senate Bill 276, would greatly benefit Texas as a whole.
Dr. Laffer was right. On average, everyone would benefit with school choice –kids who participate in the program, students who wish not to participate, teachers throughout the state, taxpayers, public schools, business enterprises, employers, and even property values. Let’s examine:
It is a no brainer that children who are not now well served would benefit from an additional choice. However, just as important is the fact that those students left behind would also do better. Just as in every other marketplace a customer not satisfied with quality, performance, or service would be allowed to leave. As the system is currently structured, schools receive the money whether they are meeting consumer expectations or not. With school choice, as some students opt-out and take their funding with them, schools would strive to do a better job in order to retain funding. They will refocus and strive to meet consumer needs rather than just bureaucratic demands. Therefore, even the students who stay win with improved schools.
The very best way, and perhaps the only way, to significantly improve our public schools is through school choice and, therefore, the magic of free enterprise dynamics.
The best kept secret in the school choice debate is the fact that most economists know that teacher salaries and job satisfaction will increase with school choice. Today, teachers have few choices of where to work unless they chose to change professions. With a larger number of schools competing for teacher’s services the price paid will increase just as in every other profession where competition for talent is allowed. Teachers deserve to be treated as real professionals. See TPPF report explaining how School choice will do just that.
Taxpayers will not only benefit through better schools, they will also see significant savings from SB276. The Legislative Budget Board estimates that state savings will exceed one billion dollars in just five years. Other estimates indicate even greater savings. Most importantly, however, additional educational resources will flow from administration into the classroom where those funds belong.
Taxpayers will benefit in other ways. A better educated workforce means economic growth and new job creation. School choice has been proven to reduce the dropout rate, help close the achievement gap, and reduce crime. All these accrue to the overall advantage of society.
Dr. Laffer estimates that the combined value of the changes resulting from SB276 would amount to ten trillion dollars in present value gain to the Texas economy. That is huge! Additionally, property values throughout the state would increase by 20% with the passage of SB276. Thousands of people would want to move to Texas from other states to take advantage of the program. This too would boost the Texas economy. See Dr. Laffer’s full report here.
School Choice for All –Students win; Teachers win; Taxpayers win; Schools improve; and the Texas Economy receives a huge boost. We can make Texas #1.